When you start working as a freelancer, there’s an exciting time ahead of you. All of a sudden, it’s your responsibility to get enough clients and connections to support yourself. But how do you make sure that you can make it work financially?
How do you find potential clients, and how do you make sure you can interest these people enough, so they choose to work with you?
There are lots of questions you might have when you want to become a successful freelancer. In this blog post, we would like to share some simple tips to become a successful freelancer so that you can build your brand in no-time.
1. Networking is Key
If you start working as a freelancer, it’s essential to contact everyone you know and let them know about this new chapter in your career. Your network is of great importance, just like social networks as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. If you’ve been a freelancer for quite a while, you know networking is the key to success.
Make sure you attend drinks and workshops where people in your business go to and add managers of companies on LinkedIn. Always carry a business card with a link to your website. Be ready to give a pitch anytime and anywhere. Who knows, you might get introduced to an entrepreneur at a party that you didn’t even visit the network! As a freelancer, every day is a new opportunity to sell your services to possible clients.
2. Create a Plan, but Take it Easy
It’s essential to write a plan of action if you start working as a freelancer. You can see it as a personal business plan. Without a plan, it’s harder to achieve your goals. Write down what the financial requirements are, what goals you have, and how and when you want to achieve those goals. Hang up your plan somewhere in plain sight.
This plan will remind you every day what you’re working towards and what progress you’re making. But remember to take it easy. There’s a lot to learn when you’re starting to work as a freelancer. So give yourself some time to get used to the idea and don’t put goals you can never reach. The sky is the limit, but you don’t need to make yourself disappointed, annoyed, or sad because you set unrealistic goals. Start small and work your way towards bigger goals.
3. Educate Yourself
It’s vital to become and stay an expert in your field. So, educate yourself. Invest in training, whether they’re online or offline. It’s important to know if specific certificates are required in your working field. Sometimes, employers ask for individual documents, even though they’re not legally required.
An example of this can be found in the Netherlands. Freelancers in construction or shipping often need to have a VCA certificate. With VCA from vca-cursus, freelancers can prove they’ve taken a course to work safely. So, always check what the expectations of potential employers regarding your education are.
And even if you’ve been freelancing for a longer time, we still recommend you keep on educating yourself. That way you’re always up-to-date with the latest requirements in your field. Your clients will love this too – they want someone who knows the latest updates and is willing to keep on growing.
4. Build your Brand
If you want to get enough clients, you need to work on your brand. As a freelancer, you’re selling your services and it’s very important to sell these services off- and online. So besides word-of-mouth marketing, visiting meetups, and being present at exhibitions, you need to work on your online marketing.
So make sure your website is the best it can be and make use of social media. We recommend you keep your social media and your branded social media separate. You don’t want to ‘scare’ potential customers away with what you do in your free time.
5. Do the Math
Freelancing is a big decision – it might even a terrifying one, especially in the beginning, when you don’t have big clients yet. Make sure you have a clear view of how much money you need to make to survive and to live comfortably.
Ideally, you don’t just survive, but make a good living. Figure out how many clients you need and what your personal and business expenses are. Keeping track of this will make sure you don’t get surprised in the wrong way.
6. Look at What your Competition is Doing
As good as you and your services might be, when you start, you don’t have a name for yourself yet. And there will be competition – some competition has been freelancing for years. That’s why you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at what kind of work they’re doing, who they’re working for, what their exact niche is and how much they ask.
We recommend you to compete in the field you’re the absolute best in and to always deliver top quality work. Luckily the freelancing community offers a lot of support; many freelancers want to help starters and give advice. Ask your competition for lunch and get to know them and how they work. If they’re super busy, they might even recommend you to someone!
7. Don’t Burn any Bridges
When you start freelancing after working a job with an employer, it might feel super freeing. Still, we recommend you to end things amicably. When freelancing, don’t piss off your competition or your former employer.
As a freelancer, your network is of utmost importance. Often, your former employer becomes your first client, or your former employer might recommend you to others. You also don’t want any ‘wars’ with your competition. Think about your reputation and keep it friendly.
8. Always Take the Extra Step
You are your key to success. So always take an extra action, still walk the extra mile. If employers see that you always give your best, they will synonymously see your brand as reliable and successful. And that’s how you become successful!
Good luck with your freelancing career! We hope you reach all the goals you wish for!